Upgrade to ChromeUpgrade to FirefoxUpgrade to Internet ExplorerUpgrade to Safari

How the parents of Caroline Flack, who died without a Will, are making sure her money goes to her favourite charities

Although TV presenter Caroline Flack did not make a Will, her grieving parents are doing their upmost to ensure the charities they know she cared about still benefit in the most tax efficient way from her £827,000 estate.

Caroline’s mother, Christine, said recently: “We will wisely use the money to help good causes that Caroline was passionate about.”

Whilst it is always better to leave a Will to ensure those you love – and the charities you care about – inherit from your estate as you wish, there are still steps that those left behind can take to ‘vary the estate’.

What is intestacy?

When someone dies without a Will, a strict set of statutory rules, known as intestacy, kick in determining who can inherit and in what order.

Because Caroline Flack, who took her own life in February this year, was unmarried and had no children, her parents each inherited a half share of her estate after debts and Inheritance Tax (IHT) had been paid.

Is it still possible to give to charity and save on Inheritance Tax?

Yes – when you inherit an estate, and want to add, change or increase donations made to charity, it is still possible to do so using something called a deed of variation.

However, it’s complicated and specialist legal advice is highly advisable.

What does a deed of variation do?

This formal legal document must be entered into within two years of the person’s death.

In Caroline Flack’s case, it would be signed by both her parents and forwarded to the charities concerned.

This then formally varies their 50% shares enabling charities to inherit. Without it, Ms Flack’s parents would be gifting funds out of their own estates, something which would be taken into account for their own tax purposes.

A deed of variation would mean:

  • Any charitable gifts would not be treated as part of Ms Flack’s taxable estate;
  • Tax would not be payable on the amount given to charities as they are deemed ‘exempt beneficiaries’ for the purpose of IHT;
  • The IHT on the rest of the estate could be reduced from 40% to 36%, a massive saving, as long as at least 10% of the net estate is left to charity.

Lesson to be learned – make a Will

By making a Will, Caroline Flack could have made sure her favourite charities benefited from her estate after her death. She could also have named other loved ones, friends and family as beneficiaries.

It would also have given her the chance to consider potential Inheritance Tax liability as gifting money to charity in your Will can reduce your IHT bill and in some rare cases, get rid of it altogether.

Click here to read what we have written about this recently.

Get in touch

Wards Solicitors’ specialist Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity lawyers can answer all your questions about making or updating a Will as well as estate planning for the future.

Please contact our Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity team for help and information.

You can find your local Wards Solicitors’ office here.

Posted by: Tom Scoffham

Get in Touch

Request a call back

If you’d prefer us to call you back, just use the form below to give us your number and the best time to call. It would also be useful if you could give us some idea of what you’d like to discuss.

    Close

    February 2021: Covid-19 arrangements

    Wards Solicitors remains open for business during the national lockdown and we are taking on new cases.  We are available for video call and telephone meetings but cannot currently offer face to face meetings with clients except in some specific emergency situations and at court hearings.

    How to get in touch:

    • Please email or telephone your usual lawyer or team, or
    • Please telephone the branch most convenient to you between 9am and 5:30pm, Mondays to Fridays.
    • Alternatively, email info@wards.uk.com at any time and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

    A list of our 12 branches is available here. Our telephones lines are operating as normal behind closed doors.

    Important Warning: Cyber-crime is very common including email interception. We will never tell you of changes to our bank details by email.  Please be aware that we accept no responsibility if you transfer money to a bank account which is not ours. If you receive an email giving our bank account details, please telephone us immediately without replying to the email or sending money.